Medial Epicondylosis Tendonitis

I started climbing last Christmas and immediately took to it, doing pull-ups, curls and hand exercises. I flew up the ratings to 5.11+ but one day I noticed that my elbow was sore.

By Rock and Ice | June 2nd, 2015

I started climbing last Christmas and immediately took to it, doing pull-ups, curls and hand exercises. I flew up the ratings to 5.11+ but one day I noticed that my elbow was sore. It has hurt for about a month now. The pain, a dull ache, goes away when I start to work out or climb, and comes back soon after I stop. I don’t know if I pulled something doing a dyno (that’s when the pain began) or if I’m going to have an ongoing problem.

—Stokedclimber, Rock and Ice Forum

You are suffering enthusiolisthesis, whereby your excitement to climb goes beyond tail-wagging enthusiasm and leads you down the slippery path of injury.

You are almost certainly suffering elbow tendonosis. Medial epicondylosis (inside elbow) is the garden variety for climbers. Read the “Dodgy Elbows” article for a rehab program.

With this level of enthusiasm, you will absolutely need a comprehensive climbing conditioning program if you are to avoid injury. The first couple of years in climbing are fraught with danger for your connective tissues. That is, muscle strength skyrockets while tendon and pulley strength lag well behind.

Solution: Purchase two bondage collars and two bullwhips. Put on one collar and tether yourself to the clothesline with the bullwhip every other day. To make the rest time more interesting, hang the spare set on the line next to you and “sext” naked pics to all your friends. Not only will this force you to rest, but it will be a formative period in your life. Rest at least 48 hours after a day on the rock or a hard training session.


This article was published in Rock and Ice 199 (January 2012).

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